After making their name as the network for teen drama, recent years have seen The CW network branching out into comic book adaptations — and to great success. Next the network is set to tackle a property that fits both bills — Riverdale, a modern, live-action spin on the comics staple, Archie.
Originally developed for FOX, Riverdale is now happening on The CW with its key creatives still in place; namely Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash) as producer and Archie Comics’ Chief Creative Officer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa as the pilot’s script writer. Riverdale is described as a “bold” and “subversive” take on Archie and his friends, focusing on “the surreality of small-town life” and “the darkness and weirdness” hiding beneath their town’s wholesome facade. And while that doesn’t sound a whole lot like Archie, it sure sounds like The CW’s next hit teen drama.
Injecting some intrigue and scandal into the lives of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead is one way to update their humdrum high-school existence, and it’s sure to appeal to a large portion of The CW’s existing audience. However, there are some changes that Riverdale is making to those core characters that may not please all fans.
Here’s how Riverdale‘s main foursome break down (via TV Line):
Archie Andrews – A high school sophomore, the redhead is still boyishly handsome but “pumped and looking good after working construction for his dad during the summer.” Archie is grappling with heavy issues and juggling the interest of several girls while discovering his passion for writing and performing music against his father and his football coach’s better wishes. Oh, and he’s harboring more than one dark, terrible secret.
Betty Cooper – The blonde and pretty sophomore is described as having “some self-esteem issues and affinity for Adderall.” Eager-to-please, wholesome and studious, Betty has a super-crush on her longtime best bud, Archie. But tired of being the “perfect” everything, she turns to her new friend, Veronica, for life advice. Betty has an emotionally brittle mom, a goth-like sister and a coveted spot on the cheerleading squad — though with certain conditions….
Veronica Lodge – Producers are aiming to ideally cast a Latina as this “silver-tongued” stunner, who has just returned to Riverdale from New York following a scandal which resulted in her father going to prison. Extremely intelligent, self-confident and immediately popular, Veronica is eager to reinvent herself — from Mean Girl to caring friend.
Jughead Jones – A hearing-impaired actor is being sought to play Jughead as an “emo-heartthrob.” The lanky lad is Archie’s former best friend, seeing as the two still are smarting from a rift that took place between them. Angry, but with a philosophical bent, Jughead “refuses to take the olive branch being proffered by Archie, the hurt goes that deep.”
Archie as a muscle-y jock? A Betty with self-esteem issues? These clearly aren’t the same characters fans have been reading for over 70 years, but that isn’t to say every new aspect is a misfire. For example, Betty and Veronica’s friendship is mentioned in these quick write-ups, while the never-ending love-triangle between the two girls and Archie isn’t. Not to imply that element won’t be a large part of Riverdale, this is The CW after all, but it’s a nice change putting focus on their friendship instead of their competition for Archie’s affections.
It’s also refreshing that Riverdale is thinking outside the box when it comes to casting, listing Veronica as a Latina and Jughead as hearing impaired. But really, Jughead without a crown? For shame. He better still have a fierce love for hamburgers.
Interestingly, Archie Comics only recently began publishing an updated Archie series called All-New Archie Comics with top comics talent like Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Chip Zdarsky, to name only a few. This series places the gang in a more contemporary setting, and though it doesn’t take quite the drastic new direction Riverdale seems to, it’s proven there’s an audience for a modern spin on the Archie lore.
What do you think of the direction Riverdale is taking the Archie characters? Is their take too different? Or just the needed updating for the series to appeal to modern teenagers? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Riverdale currently has a pilot script in development and will presumably air on The CW in the near future.
Source: TV Line